Tough tests await newly elected Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, the party’s first non-Gandhi chief in more than 24 years, as he steers the ‘grand old party’ through the many challenges on the road to the 2024 general elections.
The situation in which he takes over is a tough one for the Congress with the party’s chances in the upcoming Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections not looking very bright, infighting simmering in states such as Rajasthan and Karnataka, and hurdles in abundance for Opposition unity in the run up to 2024.
Kharge has many things favouring him as he assumes the party’s top spot after a high-octane election, defeating a worthy opponent in Shashi Tharoor. He is known to be a unifier who takes everyone along.
A Dalit from Karnataka, 80-year-old Kharge trounced his 66-year-old rival Tharoor in a historic election, the sixth in the party’s 137-year-old history. He will formally take over on October 26.
His elevation to the party’s top post comes when the Congress is in power in just two states on its own Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and faces a very aggressive incumbent BJP in election-bound Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat a few weeks from now.